best before

This is no lie: I was just wondering, like this week, if there would ever be a collection of Vashti Bunyan's rare or early recordings a la Nick Drake's Time of No Reply or Syd Barrett's Opel. Some of my favorite parts of the Just Another Diamond Day reissue were the bonus tracks, especially "Winter Is Blue." Now comes word that there will be a double(!)-CD just in time for mid-autumn, which is really the best weather to appreciate Vashti's early music. Can't wait!


She doesn't think at all about the past

Dear friends,

Thanks to the largesse of a friend, I was at the Sonic Youth show at McCarren on Saturday. If you want details go read this gent's more in-depth take*.

Dispassion is a respected rock reaction around these parts, don't cha know? I do think the Brooklynites were psyched though. It was a strange sort of psyched though, like they couldn't let themselves go for fear of outing their long dormant geekdom. So while they kept their arms crossed, their eyes glowed like lumps of burning coal as they mouthed the words to all the songs; little prayers directed at themselves. I was saucer-eyed mostly; staring at the bits of Thurston Moore's ageless face visible through his trademark floppy hairdo, red/orange stagelight filtering through. At the end of Teenage Riot, he walked over to his amp and slowly slid the neck of his guitar on the edge. It was workman-like, that action. The seemingly insignificant bit that's a necessary part of the job.

I'd never heard Hey Joni live and it was the song that won me. I loved the hurried harmonic touches and of course, Lee Ranaldo's repeated lines about forgetting the future, forgetting the past and putting it all behind you.

Hey Joni/Sonic Youth (mp3)

Buy Daydream Nation by Sonic Youth.

Love, D

* I hadn't realized but MP chose Hey Joni as a standout as well AND he's got a live version you can download! Excellent. (Rubs paws together.)

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Just see how far it will bend

Dear friends,

Josh Homme is H-U-G-E. I was fishing around for a photo that would convey his hugeness. Standing next to a child, say, or even a regular person and dwarfing them. A big arm leading to a giant hand holding a bottle that looks miniature as it is damply throttled by enormous sausage fingers, etc. etc.

Truth is, I find him strangely alluring. But it's not his size*. It's the fact that Homme looks muy macho but sings like a velvety voiced alto. I love it that when this viking opens his mouth to sing, a smooth, jazzy Julie London tone comes out. He slides and settles warmly into his notes like someone who should have Veronica Lake hair, a bias cut gown, long satin gloves and an ancient radio mic in front of them. Especially on Make It Wit Chu.

Flashback to a late night bar conversation from last week:

J: I don't get that.

D: No? ...Gloves? (mimes putting on long gloves) Satin?

J: Eh...no. That's just you.

Homme looks around for people to crush with his biceps.

I first heard Make It Wit Chu on the Desert Sessions. The title says it all: a nice, straightforward song about fucking. Mark Lanegan (love him and his leathery, whiskey wheeze) murmurs about how the only thing he knows fo' sho' is what he wants to do while Polly Jean Harvey and Homme cheep the chorus. It's breezy and fun. It sounds like Lanegan was actually smiling to himself as he sang it. That's worth bonus points right there. When I saw that the song was going to be on the new QOTSA, and that Homme was singing it, I was a little worried. What would that voice do to a song that has "lark!" written all over it? Would it make it become OVERLY SERIOUS or worse, CREEPY? Neither as it turns out. It sounds as if Homme internalized the Lanegan delivery and added his own unique earnestness to it. He means that repeated "Anytime, Anywhere" and the offer is just soft enough to sound like assurance. A song meant for jukejoints but not for the drunken strangers making passes at one another over shots. No. It's meant for the drunken marrieds who can think of no one better to take home than that person sitting next to them.

I just de-fanged the song for you, didn't I? Seriously though...gloves. LARGE ones.

Make It Wit Chu/Queens of the Stone Age (mp3)

Buy Era Vulgaris by Queens of the Stone Age.

Love, D

* I know I'm setting myself up for that one.

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Cloué au sol l'oiseau se cogne

Dear friends,

Sometimes the movie in my head is in French, and the everyday is set decorated in all these muted colors; apricot and dove gray. I've got a teased 60s hairdo and a ribbon above my bangs. I spend a lot of time in cafés, mumbling in voice-over, as life passes me by. It can't end in a satisfying way, there's too much stasis, not enough plot but the images are beautiful: a woman's red patent leather shoe, a carousel in the rain, two lovers kissing and neither of them are you. And this is the song that plays in the background...

Vertige/Camille (mp3)

Camille practices her penmanship.

I've seen Camille Dalmais perform with Nouvelle Vague on their stateside jaunts (playing the role of the gamine that sings Too Drunk to Fuck) and she's a pistol. Her album Le Fil flits between the formal lyricism of songs like Vertige and plenty crazy beat box pseudo-rap numbers like Janine III. Personally, I'm fond of both the classical and the cuckoo. Go investigate.

Au Port (Live on Taratata)/Camille (video)

Buy Le Fil by Camille.

Love, D

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Summer Jam

So I wet myself.

I didn't actually but the rush of adrenaline and my period always makes my bladder whine like a toddler in a toy store. I was lucky. I had the previous night crawled in at some unsavory hour from a nicotine-stained karaoke dive in an attempt to sleep off my birthday hangover when I was awakened by a seismic hiccup.

Okay, more like a damp belch.

"Am I dreaming?" I thought as I watched my wooden bureau sway dangerously to and fro.

"Oh. An earthquake." I realized sluggishly and rolled over. Normal earthquakes do that. Five seconds later the bed frame rattled with me on it, jostling me violently. My house felt like it had been picked up and handled by a giant baby. When I heard the explosion of glass breaking, I decided a normal earthquake did not do that and that I had best take cover.

I had to pee like the dickens!

Fortunately, it was brief but that was enough. It was bad outside, folks. My house, having been constructed from plastic and rubber bands in the early 90's, was spared the front page news. Older dwellings from the 40's and 50's-- wooden cracked things in need of repair--had been reduced to splinters. Sifting through the mess that was my kitchen, I was sent back to the floor by an aftershock.

Stupid crust.

I was in need of some uplifting as I sorted through the shards of my fallen dishes but I gave up. It's too sad to put it plainly. I just turn down the volume and slow the tempo. HUMBERT HUMBERT's cover of the famed Japanese children's song, Aka Tonbo/赤トンボ/Red Dragonfly. It's drowsy and tucking you in even though the bloated sun isn't quite dead yet. Acoustic folk with a glassy-eyed supernatural intro. I don't know what instrument is responsible for those sounds but I'd be unsettled or sad if I weren't so mesmerized.

I will unconditionally adore Kenichi Asai no matter how passionately he sings through his nose. Though I am not sure I can tell exactly where his original band, Blankey Jet City, ends and his latest incarnation, JUDE, begins I know he'll always lead me by the hand into dark acid trips I'm nervous about getting into. His guitar sings like a siren, you see, I really have no choice. Kaisuiyoku/海水浴/Seawater Bathing is a dark, cinematic song in the predatory echoey vein of Violet Fizz.

Certain altos have magic. Lazy and too hip to be here Rufus Wainwright. Slurred on opiate and half dreaming Hope Sandoval. Then there's UA. It's a bit goofy to hear this ska through molasses track known as Private Surfer/プライベート サーファー but UA's deep jazzy voice fits it like a glove, compelling you with the slap of a Texas salmon to calm or sway in the breeze. Or slow dance if you need to be a sap.

Man, I wish I had a porch. If I had a porch, I'd exist barefoot on it. I'd make lemonade from simple syrup and mint and get someone nice to play the harmonica for me all day. I'd find a watering hole, wear a straw hat and fish for trout in Abercromie and Fitch while Keison set the mood. The Americana dopamine of the blues is as worldly addictive and undying as the myth of the cowboy. No matter what language you speak, someone somewhere will always want to groove to that beat. Endless Summer/Owaranai Natsu/終わらない夏.

Ok, I feel a little better now.

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Let us walk

Dear friends,

I'm not at Siren. I may not go. I've been reading. And at 3:00 PM, on the dot, I finished. I closed the book, went into the bedroom and flopped down next to the Monkey. "How was it?" he said. I stared back at him through salt-stained glasses. "It was exactly everything I had already guessed and riffed about in my head but still... It's different to read it and know for sure." "So you're done. It's over." A nod says yes. It is.

Late last night, morning really, tired, tipsy and armed with steely determination to box fake wizards if necessary*, my friend Jared and I** took the F train to Barnes and Noble in Brooklyn. We waited on an incredibly fast moving line for very little time. There were people of all ages, in and out of costumes, different races and class, some giddy, some sheepish; all waiting. On our way there we passed a deli where two white-clad workers talked about taking a break to go get it. In Spanish. Cars keep going past, some with people drive-by dissing and some triumphantly cackling, holding their big books up to the window. In either case, I can't believe I'm typing this, it could only be described as book taunting. If that were as rough as the world got, wouldn't life be grand?

Thank you lady with a baby in a Camden cafe writing in longhand all those years ago, it's been a swell ride.

This is a piece of music written by a man thinking about his English childhood and another little boy. I think it works here.

A Ceremony of Carols: Interlude/Sioned Williams (mp3)

Buy A Ceremony Of Carols - Britten Choral Works II by The Sixteen/Harry Christophers

Love, D

* Not really, but it was fun to imagine cartoonishly beating the bejeezus out of people holding broomsticks.

** And a half-dozing J but he wasn't really participating. It was our geek mission, not his.

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Caught up in the crush

Dear friends,

The Wait by NYC trio Gold Streets sure starts off in a hurry. Bass announces itself, followed by a little flurry of static, then guitar, staccatto and crisp, and finally, a military drum beat. Then they all take off; song as race. There are two voices here. The chat sing of Norman Vino telling you about maybes and trying and the sugar-voiced T. Almy joining him for emphasis. It's hard to discern the message; you could read the song as one person trying to satisfy his two selves or one person trying to save a relationship. I prefer the former interpretation, if only because it makes the female voice in the song the protagonist's conscience; there to soothe his agitation at having to make a decision that may or may not lead to nothing at all.

(photo by Bartow Church)

Musically, think pop song from the 90's a la Juliana Hatfield, Letters to Cleo, and Belly. I know some of you will looooove that so give it a listen.

The Wait/Gold Streets (mp3)

Buy Looks Like Fireflies by Gold Streets.

See Gold Streets live tonight at The Delancey as part of Hot Rocks.

Love, D

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AUGUST 25, 2007




ORGANIZED BY: themusicslut . batteringroom . disconap . earfarm . ryspace . irockiroll . musicsnobbery . merryswankster . softcommunication . theunderratedblog . sitdownstandup . watercoolergossip . bumpershine . themodernage . productshopnyc . yetidontdance . slapyouinpublic . subinev . punkphoto . poptartssucktoasted . stereoactivenyc . fingeronthepulse

All proceeds from the festival will help fund grants written by New York music teachers for their classroom via the Bloggers Choose chapter of DonorsChoose.org. Please join us in making a great day of music and a significant contribution to music education in our city.









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Even when you touch my face, you know your place*

Dear friends,

I wish I was still here.

I listened to a lot of music on boats with Dramamine coursing through my system and much slathered on suntan lotion, skipping past any song that wasn't vibrant enough to match the surroundings. The Book of Right-On led the play list. In that setting, it just snapped into place.

Joanna Newsom has been delighting and infuriating many of my most trusted music advisors ever since she started peering, elfin and spry, from behind trees or harps. Her voice has a piercing, off-putting tone; her preoccupations are quaint and fantastical. But I've come to terms with it. More than that, I fell in deep affection. When one of her songs came on at my old office and a co-worker started mocking her, I was filled with an irrational, barely suppressed rage. Like someone was talking smack about my great-grandmother. Come to think of it, Newsom sounds like my great-grandmother, with her mushy enunciation, somehow both child-like and ancient.

The Book of Right-On, from its first notes, is a sly, glance and look away bit of slink. The literal image I get in my head is that of a woman, writing in her journal, at a train station or some place with bustle, lost in her observations about her traveling companion. They are lovers or friends, perhaps both, but that's not important. What is important is that they don't know everything about each other yet. So she can weave a story, make something magical of their shared mystery, fluctuate between being flirtatious and hesitant and not seem difficult, merely playful. She passes her scribbled words over; a page of warnings and come-ons. Will her partner volley? How could he not?

The Book of Right-On/Joanna Newsom (mp3)

For those of you who only want power harp, here's a live performance of this song from Later with Jools Holland.

The Book of Right-On (Live)/Joanna Newsom (video)

Buy The Milk-Eyed Mender by Joanna Newsom.

Love, D

* I dedicate today's selection to Soft Communication contributors The Phillips sisters who were born however many years ago on July 11. They will either adore or loathe this song. I await their verdict.

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If I were in Kindergarten I'd dance with my eyes closed

I like to dance.

I like to pretend I'm good at it too but it's a sham. I like to do a lot of things I'm not good at but then dignity has never been much my thing. While I will embrace the cha cha over anything coughed out digitally, in this land of blue soda-flavored jello I will shake my cula to whatever's within reach. I'm too tired to hunt these days.

I couldn't help but fall for W's cover of my latest drug 恋のバカンス/Love Vacance. The original kicks its ass but there are times when my aesthetics run parallel to that of a 50 year old virgin. In the face of this spectacle, there's really no point in trying not to smile.

If I were in Kindergarten, HALICALI would rule my brainwaves and Giri Giri Surf Rider would be my jam. Is there anything more amusing than Japanese girls rapping in tandem? Augh! It oughta be outlawed. I think I like Speena's cover of Material Girl for one reason and one only: the dry Brit dude in the intro. Everything after that is well, Madonna.

I've never seen Suneo Hair but he'd do well on the Muppet Show. He is a master of the ditty. Complete with striped jacket and straw boater. 真夜中のシャフル/Mayonaka Shuffle is just the bee's knees. A skip in the park with Kermit and his nephew Robin.

Speaking of Madonna, let's rewind for a sec. The opening riff of Kyoko Koizumi's cover of Heaven Academy/天国学園 will immediately transport you back to the Breakfast Club. I am a fucking sucker for anything that makes me taste pink neon. This is inarguably one of those hand-clapping, high-fivin', cowabunga Mickey Mouse club jives. I don't know what it'll do for you but it gets my dishes done a lot faster.

Gee, BOOWY. Where'd you pick up your game? The band itself makes no illusions as to its idol. Of course Hotei was involved. I've compared the likes of Tomoyasu Hotei to the Thin White Duke before. If Bowie spoke Japanese and had a legendary band in the 80's, all he'd have to do is misspell his name slightly. Their song Cloudy Heart makes me think I'm watching the credits roll by on an 80's film. The similarities will be striking but I was pleased. After all, if it speaks Japanese and croons in a way that has long made my insides tingle, how can I say no?

For those curious.


Neon Lights at Union Hall, Saturday, July 7!

Dear friends,

Lucky number 07.07.07. Okay, that's many numbers. Here's another...one. As in one more Neon Lights presents tonight at Union Hall!

We had a blast last night and I would like to give a big thank you to El Jezel, Mancino, Thrushes and De Novo Dahl! But more on that later, for now we must return to the writings of Jeff K telling us (in excerpted form) about the bands on tonight's bill...

Ola Podrida

"Our eighth and final Neon Lights bands (exhale) for this go round is Ola Podrida. Chief songwrier David Wingo had already established himself as a composer for the quietly adored films of indie director David Gordon Green (All the Real Girls, George Washington) by the time he got around to recording his arresting folk pop compositions in Austin, TX. Wingo roped a couple of old chums (Robert Patton and Matthew Frank) into returning to his in-between Texas home of Brooklyn in order to give the performance of those home recordings a go. Plug Research bit on the lovely set, releasing Ola Podrida in April. As the band is further fleshed by the addition of former American Analog Set members Andrew Kenny and Johnny Christ, our NL faithful are in for a delicate yet fulfilling treat.

Ola Podrida - "Photo Booth" (from Merry Swankster)

With an Iron & Wine strum and a voice that's the aural equivalent of a favorite bicycle slightly rusted, David sings of lazy days and casually lusty nights spent "down each others pants in the photo booth." While Brooklyn is no stranger to that sort of skeevy public groping, the surprising sweetness of the line's delivery places it far far away from the sticky city. Bent notes and an eventual organ swell give the song a charming rocking chair twang. It evokes the sort of hazy pastoral afternoon spent with a lover, lying in grass and watching the sun slowly depart, because that was the only activity you had penciled into the datebook.


As with De Novo Dahl, it's almost easier to pull out a list of outlets Ola weren't critically smooched by. Select towers of judgment...

Stylus Magazine
the Austin Chronicle
Gorilla vs Bear
Said the Gramophone"

Via Audio

"Saturday night's penultimate band are Brooklynites by way of Boston, Via Audio. I said previously that Saturday would have a bit of Texan connective tissue running through the bill, and as our sharp patrons know, Boston and Brooklyn ain't in Texas. Via Audio get their Lone Star cred on loan from Spoon's drummer/producer Jim Eno. Baby James was so enamored with the band's self titled EP that he searched our kids out and offered his knob twiddling expertise for their full length debut. The product of that agreement is Say Something, due out on Sidecho Records in September. A taste...

Via Audio - "Modern Day Saint" (from Merry Swankster)

This track starts with a bang and ends with a whisper. The rhythmic jabbing riffs at the beginning fake that the Spoon connection is more than just technical. As the song unfolds, you realize that the main similarity between the two groups is really just a commitment to immaculate indie pop. The breezy boy/girl vocals and the "everyone in the studio must sing" chorus are a communal puppy dog party. The bent notes and snaking guitar lines that soon intrude are like a single shaky shopping cart wheel. Smooth togetherness wins out in the end, as gentle oohs pile on, cloud stacked on top of fluffy cloud.

. . .

A long list of sites have signed off on Via Audio. The sheer magnitude of such endorsements got them a spot in Idolator's Track Marks feature as that week's "Biggest Band in the World." A smattering...

My Old Kentucky Blog
Largehearted Boy
I Rock I Roll
the Yellow Stereo

For a list of band member turn ons, (nearly rendered entirely theoretical by a 90's Image comics reference that proves some hip deep nerdiness) go to Hipsterotica"

Tacks, the Boy Disaster

"As will become quickly apparent, Saturday's line-up has a bit of an Austin, TX bent to it. The only current Texans, however, will be the fine gentleman of Tacks, the Boy Disaster. Lead songwriter Evan Jacobs (short interview with EJ here) spent some time in the trenches with acclaimed Texas exports the Polyphonic Spree and Midlake before venturing out with a group all his own. His piano-driven songs are plainly beautiful, but not simplistic in the least. From last year's beloved Oh, Beatrice EP, we have two prime examples...

Tacks, the Boy Disaster - "Paris" (from Merry Swankster)

"Paris" features a deceptively propulsive beat, hanging in the background behind acoustic guitars, a hanging piano loop, and Jacob's dare I say Art Garfunkel gone Elephant 6 vocal. The most exciting thing about the song is how its sound organically swells and ebbs, incorporating pretty vocal melodies and delicate instrumentation, but never breaking into overblown syrupy sweetness. It's sad, but not lonely...

Far from an uncorroborated whim of ours, Tacks, the Boy Disaster has been loved promiscuously by media outlets blog and not. Choice selections from the choir...

the Austin Chronicle
the Daily Texan
Gorilla vs. Bear
My Old Kentucky Blog

The band also recorded a session for the rightly esteemed Daytrotter.com. Four songs free to download live on perpetually in their archives, here."

Botany Bay

"As I'm neurotically concerned that you people just do not trust me (despite the overwhelming evidence of authority given to you by your lying ears), I make it a point to fill this Neon Lights profiles with indisputable evidence that the JK / MS seal of approval is merely one from a multitude. But this approach hits a rather large wall when we come to the case of Saturday night's first band, Botany Bay. Of course, main B. Bay resident Eric Schwortz has left a pixel trail deep and wide as the Silicon Valley with his other fine troupe, the Secret Life of Sofia (celebrated in story and song here, here, and here, for starters). But Botany Bay is new. Brand new. Original packaging new. Debut performance new.

The only one who's yet to go out on this particular embryonic limb is my trusted tag team partner D, and we all know how good her balance is...**

Botany Bay - "Old Age is for the Birds" (From Merry Swankster)

BB's sad elegy for all of our inevitable declines fittingly starts with an anxious bare bones strum. Schwortz's sad and rich vocal tones recall sad and dead indie icon Elliott Smith's, though he's definitely not singing to the floor as Smith sometimes would. When approaching the lovely double tracked chorus, the guitars get choppy as if they've just had a sip of the hip new cola drink and are ready to rage up, arthritis be damned. But reality sets in, backs remember their knots, and slower, more deliberate playing resumes, anger melting quickly into regret A first act intriguing enough that Saturday's late comers will kick themselves over missing the second."

As always, please follow the links to read Jeff K's complete posts and hear more songs from tonight's Neon Lights artists! We hope to see you there!

Love, D

* Actually, Mr. Eno will be making an appearance tonight with Via Audio at Union Hall. This is how they roll.

** Well, I am a Libra and therefore into Ming vases and uh, justice.

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Neon Lights at Union Hall, Friday July 6 - De Novo Dahl!

Dear friends,

The official Jeff K excerpt (self-declared! Reader's Digest, ce'st moi!) on all matters Neon Lights at Union Hall. This time, the virtues of De Novo Dahl:

"Helming the anchor leg of tonight's Neon Lights race are Nashville's own, De Novo Dahl. Following glowing reviews for their psych -pop debut album Cats & Kittens in 2005, the band has been pummeling a perpetually hot iron. Non-stop touring has lead them through the hype gauntlets of South by Southwest and CMJ, as well as landing them supporting gigs for genuine big shots such as Wilco and TV on the Radio. Big shots beget big shots it seems, as this steam roller momentum caught the famous ears of mega producer Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips' Soft Bulletin, Sleater-Kinney's the Woods) and uber-mixer Tony Doogan (Belle and Sebastian's the Life Pursuit ). The renound duo lent their expertise to the band's not too far off debut on Roadrunner Records (home of the New York Dolls, and Megadeath!!!).

Behind a bio like that there are bound to be some damn fine songs. And hey, what do you know...

De Novo Dahl - "Shout" (from Merry Swankster)

The title track from the band's soon to be released Shout EP starts at its grandest point, with group singing that recalls Arcade Fire at their most anthemic, or the Polyphonic Spree after undergoing a 10 hour "new age hokum-ectomy." All smart song cobblers know that even a three-minute pop song can be tiresome when filled with perpetual bombast, so the song drops back. "Shout" 's verses, stuffed as they are with sly boy-girl harmonies, expertly placed blips and bloops, and pogo tempo bass can barely contain the vastness of those chorale peaks. In the end the verses lose out, and everyone else wins.


The band has been lovingly pawed at from all sides and the breadth of the notices is too vast to capture, so we'll stick with the best, brightest, and most thrillingly elitist;


Stylus Magazine

Coke Machine Glow

Brooklyn Vegan

You Ain't No Picasso

Have I mentioned the fanciful 19th century one piece bath costumes? No? A teasing glimpse of the red and yellow icing on the already tasty cake...To buy tickets right now for tonight's show, also featuring El Jezel, Mancino, and Thrushes, go here. To attempt to sneak in for free, check the rules of our giveaway here. "

For pictures, more writing, and another song, read the whole post over at Merry Swankster!

Love, D

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Neon Lights at Union Hall, Friday July 6 - Thrushes!

Dear friends,

Oh, they'll be a lot more.

"The top of Friday night's Neon Lights bill features not one but two stellar bands traveling in from exotic lands. The shoegaze sweethearts known as Thrushes come to us from the faraway wilds of Baltimore. Their debut album, Sun Come Undone, has been circling on selective stereos from Brooklyn to Beijing since Spring, but in case you need a sampler...

Thrushes - "Heartbeats" (From Merry Swankster)

You may think that you don't have room in your actual blood box for another song called "Heartbeats," but it's not like you have a choice in the matter. When word leaked that Jesus and Mary Chain's Reid Brothers would be recording an album with their little sister, this is the sound of the collective daydream that followed. Idolator said that, "anyone who has fond memories of 4AD will be all over this." I do, and I am. I have faith that the assembled masses will quickly agree. There's a temptation to call them the night's sleeper pick, if they hadn't gotten a lot more of that sort of high-quality attention.

That aforementioned more:

- Because rarely, only rarely, the NME can be kind of cool, you can vote Thrushes as an "NME Breaking Band" by going here.

Hype dealers of the domestic variety:

Baltimore City Paper
Largehearted Boy
Obscure Sound
Instrumental Analysis
Off the Record Magazine


You can buy tickets right now to see Thrushes, along with El Jezel, Mancino, and De Novo Dahl, by going to the Ticketweb page located here."

Love, D

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Neon Lights at Union Hall, Friday July 6th - Mancino!

Dear friends,

More words from Jeff K (who is kind of an honorary contributor by means of cutting and pasting, ghetto enough for you?) about Friday night's second band, Mancino:

"The third Friday night 'Lights band to fall under this site's spotlight is Brooklyn's own Mancino. The Man' clan specialize in keyboard lead, turn on a dime, herky jerky whirlwinds with a side order of sweet 60's songcraft. Their recently uncaged debut, Manners Matters, is filled to the brim with that sort of thing. You can buy it here.


Mancino - "L'Amour (or Less) (from Merry Swankster)

Nothing like proud recorder notes to start a nervous pop song, especially when paired with the fluctuating sci-fi sounds from some sort of oscillator contraption. From there, it's all lovable synth geekery, an undying backbeat, and insidiously catchy murmurs of "yeahyeahyeahyeahyeahyeahyeahyeah." It may be even better when it switches to waltz pace on the chorus though. It's almost smooth then, like when Steve Urkel built the machine to transmogrify himself into Stephan Ur-KEL. Of like the Jerry Lewis movie they ripped that off from. Not like the tubby Eddie Murphy remake though. These guys sound svelte.

Some long standing cultural institutions have weighed in on Mancino's behalf;

Spin Magazine (Artist of the Day)


As well as some of these fly by night "weblog" things you've heard so much about;

Gorilla vs Bear

My Old Kentucky Blog


Nerd Litter

Hits in the Car


To buy tickets right now for Friday's show, also featuring El Jezel, Thrushes, and De Novo Dahl go here. To attempt to sneak in for free, check the rules of our giveaway here."

Contest? Yes. Contest. Go for it!

Love, D

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Neon Lights at Union Hall, Friday July 6th - El Jezel!

Dear friends,

Because (singing) I must've been a thieeeef... I stole this wholesale from Neon Lights partner Jeff K, word. Doodz can write. Check this excerpt...

"Switching gears to Friday night's Neon Lights line-up, we'll first feature Astoria's finest, El Jezel. Jessica, Dan, and George form the versatile three piece, who produced last year's stellar post-rock flavored epic Elements of Being Put Together. Let's sample a few tracks and discuss, shall we?

El Jezel - "Michigan"

For a band who readily admit in their song's first line to only visiting the Wolverine State once, El Jezel sure has a lot of Michigan-centric angst to work out. The resentment practically drips from the walls of the cavern in which the drums were apparently recorded. The brooding bass line glowers intently from behind its bangs. Only the guitars are putting on a passable poker face, but even the strings can't keep it up. Around the 1:20 mark, the fake smile turns into a vicious snarl, signaling the drum kit that the time for maintaining one's cool has now passed. A smashing climax emerges from nowhere, the sort of maelstrom on a dime that made the word Mogwai more than just a piece of 80's film trivia. This fury can't go on indefinitely, of course, and the track momentarily retreats back to its passive aggressive whispers. It's a false reprieve though, as this cycle of build and release goes on for an emotionally fraught 6 minutes before sulking off into the sunset."


"If my vouchers might strike you as untrustworthy somehow, I offer these alternate sources of confirmation;

Cracker's United
Mercurial Sound


You can buy tickets right now to see El Jezel along with Mancino, Thrushes, and De Novo Dahl, by going here. Freebies from the rest are forthcoming..."

For another El Jezel song, photos of rocking elementary schoolkids and more Jeff K, go read the rest of this post HERE on the always wonderful Merry Swankster blog.

Love, D

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Ah, meu coração

Dear friends,

1. I've been away. Did you miss me?

2. Help me solve a mystery. I got this song from a mix. The names Nara Leão and Elis Regina were scribbled on the cassette case. Is this correct? Listen to it. The voices are two intertwining murmurs; engaging each other in cashmere melancholy. The two women's vocals are so close in range and texture that it sounds like the same person having a dialogue. But is it one person? Or is it really Leão and Regina duetting like a person and their shadow?

Vocal conundrum aside, what's the story here? Is the protagonist of this song really that sad about calling things off with their ex? Or are they simply in awe of themselves for being so detached? For people a little in love with their sadness and consequently, themselves.

Insensatez/Nara Leão and Elis Regina (mp3)

3. Putting faces to those voices:

Luz Negra/Nara Leão (video)

Aguas de Marco/Elis Regina (video)

Speaking of this song - which is a favorite from one of my favorite singers*, look and listen to this version with Tom Jobim. Check out how the song changes by adding another another element, in this case, from philosophically solemn to playful.

Aguas de Marco/Elis Regina and Tom Jobim (video)

4. Jeff K will be telling you about our next Neon Lights coming up at Union Hall this Friday, July 6 and Saturday, July 7 ALL WEEK. So shall I but I'll be doing it with my patented two cent words and mangled metaphors. Keep looking out.

If you don't need words to convince you, you're already intrigued by the line-up, you can buy tickets from Ticketweb, just look on the left there for the links.

Love, D

* Seriously though, Regina kicks ass vocally. She is so effortlessly connected to her material and yet she makes it look and sound so casual and easy.

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